Revue: Soundings

The volcanic eruption at Geldingadalur, Fagradalsfjall. Photo by Toby Elliott on Unsplash
The volcanic eruption at Geldingadalur, Fagradalsfjall. Photo by Toby Elliott on Unsplash

Just under one year ago, on 4 May, I posted the first tracks of the Freelance Forum 2020 podcast series to Soundcloud. Over the past ten years, I’d made recordings of different sessions at Freelance Forum events, and later uploaded them, but it was a hapazard exercise. Some sessions were never recorded, some recordings failed due to technical glitches.

But 2020 was different.

Covid meant a gathering in a Dublin hotel wasn’t going to happen, but we decided in the Dublin Freelnace NUJ branch that the Forum would go ahead. The solution was a series of podcast interviews, recorded between April and October 2020.

In 2021, the podcast interviews and sessions were complemented by a series of live webinars. This allowed for an interaction between speakers and attendees, allowing question and answer feedback.

Just short of the one year mark since the launch of the podcast series, I thought it time to look back again. In total, 26 podcast episodes were recorded — 23 podcast interviews, and an additional three live webinars later placed online in edited form.

In addition, an archive of over 50 recordings from sessions recorded between 2011 and 2019 is also available.

Before 2020, the most downloaded recording was Karlin Lillington in Spring 2016: Journalism in the Surveillance Age.

The Freelance Forum 2020 Podcast Series began in earnest with an episode on mindfulness, upoaded on 4 May 2020.

Freelance Forum 1: Padraig O’Morain on Mindfulness

Freelance Forum 2: Connected editor Emmet Ryan from the Business Post on freelancing opportunities during the Covid lockdown, and the opportunities that will be available in the future.

Freelance Forum 3: Financial journalist Sinead Ryan on managing personal finances, including access to the Covid-19 emergency welfare payment, what to do about pensions and mortgages, and dealing with the tax man and third level fees.

Freelance Forum 4: Writer Joe Joyce discusses the differences between news reporting, journalism and writing fiction, why journalism can be a bad preparation for fiction writing, and how historical fiction is a good half-way point.

You can order Joe’s latest book, “1691: A Novel” through Kindle as an ebook on Amazon, or you can order the print edition from Amazon or from Joe’s own website,

Freelance Forum 5: NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley describes how journalists and news media organisations are dealing with the challenges of Covid, and talks about the NUJ proposal for a government commission on the future of journalism in Ireland.

Freelance Forum 6: Independent producer and media trainer Aileen O’Meara talks about organising your own podcast, whether it’s for profit, promotion or pleasure.

Details of her video training course – now online – called Mobile Video Made Easy – are available at – she’s also got her own YouTube channel.

Her soon to be launched podcast training for beginners will be live by the end of May.

if you are interested in finding out more, email Aileen at about a special offer on the pilot being launched after June 1st.

Aileen’s own podcast is called Clarence Street Stories – it’s on Spotify and wherever you find your podcasts.

Freelance Forum 7: RTÉ producer Sarah Binchy talks about Sunday Miscellany, the RTÉ Short Story competition, and breaking into broadcasting.

You can check out further details of Sunday Miscellany (and listen to recent editions) webpage at

Details of the RTÉ Short Story Competition in honour of Francis McManus are at

If you are interested in documentary making, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound+Vision Fund.

Freelance Forum 8: Journalist Ken Foxe talks about the freedom of information process as a way to uncover news stories. You can find out more at his FOI Guide:

The guide now includes contact addresses for all government departments, county councils and various other public bodies.

If you use the guide and find it helpful, you can support Ken in keeping it up to date:

Freelance Forum 9: Cassie Delaney talks about the Tall Tales podcast network and the Rogue Collective, an online news outlet with intelligent content for women, by women who value freedom of expression, broader representation, niche interests and celebrating individuality.

Contact the Rogue Collective at you will receive a link to a Google form. You can also contact them through @RogueCollectiv on Twitter and Instagram.

A monthly subscription to Rogue is only €4 at

Freelance Forum 10: Therese Caherty talks about science journalist Mary Mulvihill, and the Mary Mulvihill Award set up in her memory. Therese is co-chair of the association along with Mary’s sister, Noirin Mulvihill. The Mary Mulvihill Award 2020 was a first in every sense: youngest ever winner at 17, first male and based outside Dublin.

You can find out more about the award at or follow the Award on Twitter ‎@RememberingMary, Instagram and on Facebook

Freelance Forum 11: Eileen Culloty, a post-doctoral researcher at FuJo, the Institute for Future Media and Journalism ( at Dublin City university, working on a European project on how to counter disinformation. She talks to Freelance Forum about fake news — from rumour to propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation — and the strategies both journalists and the wider public can take to recognise and counter it.

Freelance Forum 12: Woman’s Way editor Áine Toner talks about her role editing the popular magazine, what kinds of article the magazine is looking for, and the best way to pitch. Áine can be reached at, and the magazine website is at

Freelance Forum 13: Dublin Inquirer editor Stephanie Costello talks about the innovative Dublin news website and newspaper, how they approach story beats, and plans for the future. You can find out more at

Freelance Forum 14: Conall Heussaff and Dylan Daniels talk about FAC Magazine, from editorial directions to innovative approaches to funding.

You can find out more at

Freelance Forum 15: Stockholm based Irish journalist Philip O’Connor talks about the challenges of reporting on the far-right in Sweden, and the lessons Irish journalists can learn as extremist voices grow louder in Ireland.

You can follow Philip by at his blog,, or at Twitter where his handle is @philipoconnor.

Freelance Forum 16: Financial journalist Sinead Ryan returned to talks about finances, taxation, the pandemic payments, and changes as a result of the October 2020 Budget announcements for 2021.

Freelance Forum 17: Producer Brigie de Courcey from RTE talks about scriptwriting for Fair City.

Freelance Forum 18: Freelance Forum 18: Philip Cooper from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland talks about the Sound+Vision Scheme.

Freelance Forum 19: Simon Cocking has been Chief Editor at Irish Tech News (, and a business mentor and advisor working with over 200 successful companies to date. He has been based in Ireland for over 25 years and has co-founded or founded seven successful companies.

Freelance Forum 20: Author Paul Carroll talks about writing fiction, marketing and promotion, self-publishing, and ebooks. Find out more about Paul’s work at

Freelance Forum 21: Photographer David Branigan talks about licensing and copyright.

David Branigan talks about licensing and copyright issues. David is a photographer journalist who specialises in marine and sailing subjects both in Ireland and overseas. His work appears regularly in Irish publications and news outlets in addition to projects such as books, calendars and stock photo services. He has been a member of the NUJ Dublin Freelance branch since 1992.

Sites mentioned by David in this podcast are Tin Eye [], Google Image Search [], Pixsy [], the Wayback Machine [], and Editorial Photograpers UK & Ireland Group [].

Freelance Forum 22: Freelance Forum 22: Eliot Higgins talks about Bellingcat, disinformation, and countering propaganda

Freelance Forum 23: Four young journalists from Gorm TV on diversity and inclusion. Mamobo Ogoro is a Social Psychology PhD candidate and the founder of Gorm Media. Funmi Jinadu is a journalist & PhD student at the University of Limerick. Sandrine Ndahiro is an English Ph.D student and aspiring documentary film maker. Ala Buisir is a visual artist/ journalist, born and raised in Ireland to migrant parents from Libya.

Freelance Forum 24: Spring 2021 Webinar 1, a panel discussion on ways to make money using online media. Featuring Gerard Cunningham, Martin McMahon (Tortoise Shack), Taryn de Vere (Quare media) and Dean Van Nguyen.

Freelance Forum 25: Want to make a podcast on a shoestring but don’t know where to start? Need to define your target audience and work out how to record remotely? Former RTE producer & media trainer Aileen O’Meara brings you her insights and knowledge to this interactive workshop. Bring your phone, your podcast idea and your brain along. By the end of this workshop you will have your Six Straightforward Steps to a Super Podcast. Ideal for freelancers with a yen to be heard.

Contact Aileen at

Freelance Forum 26: Melanie Boylan is a Social Media Trainer and Journalist based in Co Westmeath who has spent the last four years honing her methods for building her brand recognition. In her chat she outlines the tools and tactics that she’s integrated into her every day strategy. Check out STOMP Social Media Training.

It’s been quite a year for the Freelance Forum. So which was your favourite episode to date? Is there a speaker you would like to hear when the Autumn Series begins, or a topic you would like to see covered in the future?

Drop me a line and let me know.

The volcanic eruption at Geldingadalur, Fagradalsfjall. Photo by Toby Elliott on Unsplash
The volcanic eruption at Geldingadalur, Fagradalsfjall. Photo by Toby Elliott on Unsplash
Categorised as 200 Words

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.